September 5, 2018- Dealing with Depression- Solomon

Last week we began discussing how to deal with depression. We looked at statistics among teens and symptoms of depression. I shared some things that I dealt with when I went through it.

We talked about where our identity should be if we are believers, in Christ and not ourselves or the world.

Our problems don’t magically go away when we accept Christ

We saw that God always gave His people hope, even in the bleakest of circumstances.

We looked at Romans 8:38-39 (Read them again) and 2 Corinthians 4:16-17 where Paul encouraged Christians to continue even when things get difficult and we don’t understand everything.

This week, we are going to look at one person specifically, Solomon.

What do we know about Solomon?

·         David’s son through Bathsheba

·         Prayed to God for wisdom (1 Kings 3:9- Give your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, to discern between good and evil.)

·         God answered the prayer and made him the wisest human to ever live (3:12)

o   God also blessed him w/ material wealth bc he asked for wisdom and not riches (13)

·         He was responsible for the Temple being built

·         Jerusalem was at its wealthiest point under the rule of King Solomon

·         He had many wives and concubines…of which he allowed them to bring their local deities.

o   This caused him to have much strife

o   1 Kings 3:14- “if you walk in My ways, keeping My statutes and commandments, as your father David walked, then I will prolong your days. (There was a condition on his wisdom and stature.)

So, going from one of the most prosperous times in Jewish history, we see the book of Proverbs, of wisdom written…but we also see the book of Ecclesiastes.

Ecclesiastes is a book that is written by Solomon at the later years of his life. This book was a warning to younger people. He warned them to avoid walking through life on the path of human wisdom; but to depend on the wisdom of God.

                Even though Solomon tells of his life experiences, some being very difficult and unfulfilling, throughout the entire process he never gave up his faith in God. (A powerful reminder that even in our darkest times, when we feel that we have lost everything, our faith in God is still there, an anchor that we can hold on to.)

                Solomon, for much of his life squandered God’s blessings on his own personal pleasure, rather than God’s glory. He wrote to warn the coming generations not to follow in his footsteps.

So, for bonus points…what does Ecclesiastes, the word, mean? Preacher

 

Fleeting!

All is Vanity!  Ecclesiastes 1:8-12

-What could this phrase mean?

                Futile attempts to be satisfied apart from God.

·         We spend so much of our time trying to satisfy our flesh. What this will do is give us temporary pleasure, or relief but it does not solve the problem.

o   When it comes to depression or other things, we may try avenues that briefly numb the pain. (Drugs, alcohol, inappropriate relationships, unhealthy addictions, inflicting self-pain.)

§  But, when the feeling wears off, we are back at the same place we were when we began.

·         Solomon discusses trying to cover this pain.

o   We know that he had everything he could ever want materially. He had it all, and yet he came to the conclusion that it was all worthless.

o   He allowed material possessions to get between himself and God, and he paid for it.

§  1:8- All things are wearisome; Man is not able to tell it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor is the ear filled with hearing...there is nothing new under the sun.”

§  Nothing that we do, after a certain amount of time will be remembered.

·         Solomon is dealing with worthlessness, insignificance and dread as his life is coming to an end. All of the worldly things that he would accomplish would soon be gone and forgotten.

o   When you deal with depression you could feel in the same position as Solomon, that nothing you do matters, and that no one will remember you. You may even feel that the world would be better if you were not here.

o   The problem with this thought process is that God desired for you to be here, and so you are here. Never get to a point that you feel that you have no purpose. In man’s eyes, you may be forgotten but God does not forget His children. The things that you accomplish for the world may be forgotten as time goes on, but the things that you accomplish for the Kingdom of God will be known to God forever.

Futile: 1:12-18
Striving after the wind ( you can’t catch the wind…same as what has true value in life cannot be held in your hand.)

·         1:15- What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be counted.

·         Sometimes, some things in life can’t be fixed once they are broken, or bent. Just like you can’t take toothpaste and put it back in the tube, some broken relationships won’t be mended. Some pain won’t go away on this side of the grave. (physical and/or emotional/spiritual).

·         But, we know that God will give us the strength to continue. Job 19:25-27

For I know that my Redeemer lives,
    and at the last he will stand upon the earth.[
a]
26 And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
    yet in[
b] my flesh I shall see God,
27 whom I shall see for myself,
    and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
    My heart faints within me!

·         Job reminds us that our savior still lives, and reigns. Even when it feels as if nothing but darkness is surrounding you, you can remember this promise, that your redeemer lives!

 

Chapter 2: Seeking Pleasure…

                “I will test you with pleasure. So enjoy yourself.

·         Pleasure accomplishes nothing

·         Wine accomplished nothing

·         Built houses, planted vineyards, gardens, parks, ponds, bought slaves, had massive amounts of livestock more than anyone else ever in Jerusalem, silver and gold and endless treasure. Male and female singers, pleasure of men…concubines.

·         Increased greater than all who came before him. He did not refuse anything that was before him. He entertained every temptation that would bring about pleasure.

·         Even after traveling every road he could imagine, once he reached the end, it was all worthless.

o   “Nothing of enduring and satisfying substance to show for it.”

o   Human wisdom suffers a crucial shortcoming—it leaves both the wise and the fool empty-handed at the threshold of death.

·         The works of his hand are worthless because he comes to the knowledge that when he dies he can’t take it with him. It will be given to someone else and all the work that he has put into it will be forgotten. (2:18.)

Solomon’s conclusion-

·         In the depths of his sorrow, looking at life as meaningless, he makes this statement in 2:24-25

o   “There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good. This also I have seen that it is from the hand of God. For who can eat and who can have enjoyment without Him?

So how do we respond to what we see that Solomon struggled with?

·         Like Solomon, there will be times in our lives that we feel that no matter what we do, we can’t get ahead. No matter how much money we make, how popular we are, how many possessions we have, it won’t bring us happiness.

·         We all suffer in specific ways. Our experiences will be different.

·         Through these events in our lives, God is able to work drastically.

o   David Powlison states in God’s Grace in Your Suffering that God speaks and acts through affliction.”

§  When life is easy and there is no struggle, our faith can become complacent. Our faith can waver because like Solomon, we are able to meet every need, want and desire that we may have. So, this season that you may be going through is an opportunity to depend more fully on God.

§  C.S. Lewis states, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to a deaf world.”

§  So, in those times of pain, we learn to trust God more, we learn to gaze at the Cross of Christ instead of our own accomplishments or the accomplishments of others.

§  There is this promise when it comes to scripture that if we are a child of God, no matter how bad it may get, we have the strength of Christ, that we may live.

§  When we fight through the depression or other struggles that we may have, we get to see what God has done. We may be ignorant to it during the storm but hindsight is 20/20. “God’s answer will come to mean something better than you could ever imagine.”

o   When you get into that dark place, cling to what is good. Write down ways that God has blessed you, write down scripture that will help you. Put them in prominent places in your room, your locker, your car, your wallet…wherever you will look often.

o   A trial can bring bad but it can also bring good. With Solomon, he was able to see that the things of the world are meaningless, but his faith in God was what gave him meaning. Eccclesiastes 12:13-14

§  If you are searching for fulfilment in life, look no further than the Creator. He is the one who designed us, and gave us the capacity to desire Him above all else. When we seek after Him, things may still be difficult, but we have some hope rather than none.

 

 

 

 

 

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